It has been known for ages that the younger and more mobile an athlete is, the better they will fare in competition. One of the few sports that seemed exempt from this rule was golf… until now.
Tiger Woods once dominated the world of golf, largely due to the fact that he was the most physically fit athlete in the sport. But recently, with the arrival of young, gifted, and weight room oriented golfers, the firm grasp that Tiger once held on the sport may soon dissipate into the most even playing field the sport has known since the early 1990’s. With his win at the British Open, Rory Mcilroy becomes the youngest golfer since Tiger to win his third major.
As the leader of the new era of the youthful movement in golf Mcilroy has been the closest thing to as dominant as Tiger was in his prime than any other golfer. However, unlike Tiger, Rory has proven not to be invincible on Sundays. His collapse at the 2011 Master’s was the worst round of ever played by a professional who was leading the storied tournament with only one round to play. He isn’t the only one to fall short on golf’s biggest stage, 2014 has also seen Jordan Spieth fall short after being the leader in the clubhouse after facing Augusta’s first 54 holes, surrendering his lead to Bubba Watson. And another young golfer who is beginning to appear in the top ten of the sports biggest tournaments is Rickie Fowler, who finished in a tie for second at The British Open and will likely appear at the Ryder Cup.
The fact that Mcilroy is the only one out of this group of young, strong, athletic golfers to win a major championship is irrelevant at this point in time. Spieth (20) and Fowler (25) are relatively new to the Professional Golf Association’s Tour, and with how well they have acclimated themselves to the biggest stages in golf, it is fair to say that their times will arrive shortly.
However, the real question that looms over the arrival of golf’s new era is what will become of Tiger Woods? The 38 year old has fallen behind the pace of Jack Nicklaus for the first time in his career as far as the timeframe in which it took the two of them to win major championships. He has also had to endure numerous back and knee surgeries in recent years, sidelining him for much of 2013 and half of the 2014 season. But now, after saying that he is playing pain free for the first time in years, will Tiger be able to adjust to the new youth movement in the sport? Or will he rely on his power and strength just as much as he enters the twilight of his career as he did during his rise to greatness.